The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries

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Duke University Press, Sep 9, 2011 - Political Science - 287 pages
In The Problem with Work, Kathi Weeks boldly challenges the presupposition that work, or waged labor, is inherently a social and political good. While progressive political movements, including the Marxist and feminist movements, have fought for equal pay, better work conditions, and the recognition of unpaid work as a valued form of labor, even they have tended to accept work as a naturalized or inevitable activity. Weeks argues that in taking work as a given, we have “depoliticized” it, or removed it from the realm of political critique. Employment is now largely privatized, and work-based activism in the United States has atrophied. We have accepted waged work as the primary mechanism for income distribution, as an ethical obligation, and as a means of defining ourselves and others as social and political subjects. Taking up Marxist and feminist critiques, Weeks proposes a postwork society that would allow people to be productive and creative rather than relentlessly bound to the employment relation. Work, she contends, is a legitimate, even crucial, subject for political theory.
 

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Contents

The Problem with Work
1
Mapping the Work Ethic
37
Marxism Productivism and the Refusal of Work
79
Working Demands From Wages for Housework to Basic Income
113
Hours for What We Will Work Family and the Demand for Shorter Hours
151
The Future Is Now Utopian Demands and the Temporalities of Hope
175
A Life beyond Work
227
Notes
235
References
255
Index
275
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Kathi Weeks is Associate Professor of Women's Studies at Duke University. She is the author of Constituting Feminist Subjects and a co-editor of The Jameson Reader.